Birmingham-born novelist, biographer and poet Philip Callow has died aged 82.

Originating from a working class family in Stechford, Callow made a name for himself in his early writing career with gritty, semi-autobiographical novels that reflected his roots.

In his latter life, he became more known for biographies, including a well-respected two volume work on DH Lawrence.

The first volume, called Son and Lover published in 1975, gained a certain notoriety for hinting at the writer's covert homosexuality.

Callow came from a group of novelists that included Alan Sillitoe and David Storey who specialised in gritty working class writing of the post-war years.

In his fourth novel – Clipped Wings, published in 1964 – he wrote of that period: "Everybody in jobs they didn't want to be in, living in surroundings, houses, they didn't want to live in, with people they didn't want to rub against, all tramping about with the loathing on their faces".

Though critically acclaimed for his sharp prose, Callow's work was to grow out of fashion with the reading public.

Alan Mahar, publishing director of Birmingham-based publishing house Tindal Street Press, was a friend and reviewer of Callow's work.

"He was a lovely man," he said. "In his early career tales of provincial working class life would have had popular appeal whereas in the last 20 years it hasn't.

"Although he continued writing novels, they wouldn't have had as much appeal to publishers as the biographies.

"He kept alert and interested in society and very attached to his roots in the Midlands, but a writer's life is very hard, especially in the latter years.

"Some people when they go out of fashion, they go quietly. He carried on. He was a very brave man."

Mr Mahar described Callow's work as "more stylish" than many other working class writers.

Callow was also won praise in his hey day from the likes of JB Priestley who noted his "admirable and indeed all-too-rare truth, sincerity and sensitiveness".

Born in Birmingham in 1924, Callow's clerk father moved the family to Coventry shortly after.

He attended Broadway Secondary School and then technical college before becoming an apprentice toolmaker with the Coventry Gauge and Tool Company.

His main fictional output was a trilogy set in the industrial Midlands beginning with Going to the Moon (1968), followed by The Bliss Body (1969) and ending with Flesh of Morning (1971).

He left the Midlands for the South West, but was never able to survive purely as a writer and worked in a clerical job with the South West Electricity Board.

In the sixties he retrained as a teacher and taught creative writing.